The Carters shocked us all with a surprise joint album drop that fulfilled the detailed character studies presented by Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s most recent releases: 2016’s “Lemonade” and 2017’s “4:44.” If the two preceding albums were introspective narrations of who The Carters have come to be over the past decade, and their new goals in life, “Everything Is Love” serves as their celebration at the summit, wine and cigars in hand.
The nine track-long release is as concise and cohesive as these two artists can get. “Everything Is Love’s” thesis statement is well-defined in its single APESHIT, which featured a shut down Louvre, and scenes of grandeur that outshine Kanye West’s opulent imagery in “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” The Migos ad libs lend the song an electric current running through the pulsing instrumental.
“Everything Is Love” is every bit as personal, and definitely all about who Beyonce and Jay-Z are in 2018.
Queen B might be primarily a pop icon, and a stalwart of hip-hop by way of R&B, but this 38-minute experience features some of her best rap verses, delivered with supreme confidence, dripping with swagger. This is, first and foremost, a rap record filled with some of Cool & Dre’s, Pharrell’s, and Boi-1da’s tightest productions. The Carters also hold co-production credits on every song as well, and it goes to show, because the album is undoubtedly, distinguishably theirs. There’s no experimental aspect to Everything Is Love because every track is founded on the best building blocks of their previous discographies.
Highlights of the Tidal released record include the synth-pop influenced HEARD ABOUT US, which sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, or even Carly Rae Jepsen’s EMOTION. The iconic four count at the start of Pharrell-produced NICE, introduces us to a glistening piano lick bumped by thick 808s and a repetitive anthem of The Carters declaring that “They can do anythiiiiiiing.”
What The Carters did was build up on what they’ve done best throughout their careers, and bunched it all together in one tight package.
Don’t get things mixed up — “Everything Is Love” is every bit as personal, and definitely all about who Beyonce and Jay-Z are in 2018. It’s a celebratory statement and declaration of love and admiration for the people they’ve come to be past all their struggles and fights. She stands alongside her husband on this album not as raw, bare individuals, but as a man and woman who’ve run the game for so long.
Surely, it’s not as emotionally rich as their recent works, but what we get is a narration of just how far Bey and Hova have come. Moreover, artist collaborations have come to be quite common as of late, but are rarely as impactful as acts like Eminem and Royce Da 5’9’s Bad Meets Evil, or Quavo and Travis Scott’s Huncho Jack. Jay-Z did it once before with Kanye on “Watch the Throne,” but that barely missed the mark. What The Carters did was build up on what they’ve done best throughout their careers, and bunched it all together in one tight package. It’s been two years since “Lemonade,” and a year since “4:44,” and we finally get the pay-off we sought alongside The Carters, and a nine-track banger compilation while we’re at it. Better yet, promise it’ll grow on you, especially if you take Jay-Z’s words and let it breathe.